by Xave Gregorio – Philstar.com, 11 Nov 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Changing the government’s response to COVID-19, hiking wages nationwide, ending contractualization and investigating corruption allegations against President Rodrigo Duterte are some of the policies that Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares and Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Bong Labog will pursue should they get elected as senators.
Colmenares and Labog, Makabayan’s Senate bets, presented Thursday the leftist coalition’s seven-point platform for next year’s elections, which include demands that they have long been calling for like mass COVID-19 testing, improved contact tracing and more aid for the poor.
Other programs that address the pandemic top Colmenares and Labog’s agenda, including ensuring benefits for healthcare workers, safely reopening schools and resuming public transportation.
The two senatorial candidates want to hike the minimum wage to P750 nationwide and the social pension to P1,500, and implement the second P1,000 increase to the Social Security System pension.
They also want to implement more “progressive” taxes like a wealth tax, while simultaneously cutting government spending on defense, intelligence and discretionary funds of the president and of Congress.
Also included on the platform is the repeal of the anti-terrorism law, which is being contested before the Supreme Court for supposedly being unconstitutional.
They also want to hold accountable Duterte and all others involved in extrajudicial killings and other alleged human rights violations. They want to pass a law recognizing and giving reparations to victims of these supposed abuses.
Other laws that Colmenares and Labog want passed include a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty for political prisoners, a new franchise for ABS-CBN, and the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).
They also want to pass reforms to the country’s electoral system, including banning political dynasties and amending the party-list law.
Makabayan’s Senate bets also want peace talks between the government and communist rebels to resume after these broke down in 2017 following accusations from both sides that they violated the terms of the ceasefire.
They are also pushing for an independent foreign policy and the revocation of “unequal” defense and economic treaties.
Colmenares recognized that it could be difficult for them to enact these platform items, considering that they have usually been in the minority in Congress.
But he and Labog said they are banking on the mass movement to turn their vision into reality.
“One of our sure investments is the wide mass movement if people who can urge other politicians to support pro-people and pro-Filipino laws being pushed in the lower house and the Senate,” Labog said in Filipino.